Veterans are not broken.

There is a myth that veterans are broken. That war has somehow destroyed the mind, body, and soul. The idea that we as veterans are dysfunctional and cannot reintegrate back into society is absolute garbage. Many of us do it to ourselves, though not on purpose. Society has this stigma about warriors, that what we do somehow rips apart our humanity and damages us beyond repair. Some will state the suicide epidemic that plagues the veteran community as evidence that we are broken. We respectfully disagree, it is, but a symptom.

For too long the community, the tribe has been told by outsiders and by each other that we are broken. That we need help, and that we’re damaged goods. We at American Grit refuse to ever put the label of broken on anyone that has ever served. Whether killed in combat, via their own hand or alive and well, these men and women are not broken. They are the best our nation has and had to offer. One doesn’t endure the trials of military training, no matter the branch, without having a love for something deeper than themselves. That is not what a broken person does. A broken person doesn’t put other’s well-being before their own.

Certainly, some of us have heard it from some of the ignorant among us,

“My cousin came back from Iraq and the Marines and he was all ****** up in the head man, are you like that?”

Ignorant questions based on the perception that war has destroyed our identity and we are but a useless shell. When someone hears that you are dealing with PTSD or depression or anxiety or anything, and they start asking questions about their safety, does it not bother you?

Veterans are not broken. The same goes for LEO’s and First Responders. These men and women may have difficulty readjusting from a world where every decision you made could determine whether you live or die, or whether your best friends lived or died, but that is not broken. That is normal. Veterans are not broken, they are people, and just like everyone else, sometimes they deal with issues. It does not make them broken.

It is our responsibility as veterans to not assign that defeatest label unto ourselves, but rather show the world how strong we really are through overcoming that adversity.

Originally published by American Grit. Read more from American Grit: